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General News | Nov 3, 2004

Nobody is exploiting conflict in Yendi - Obed Replies Kufuor

Ghanaian Chronicle

VETERAN politician and National Chairman of the main opposition party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Dr. Obed Yaw Asamoah, has strongly condemned President John Agyekum Kufuor for saying he would not campaign at Yendi for the December elections.

He said nobody was exploiting "the daylight massacre" of the King of Dagbon, Ya-Na Andani II and forty others for any political agenda as New Patriotic Party officials, including the President, were portraying.

"What the NDC is talking about is about the NPP's selective justice. This is a criminal offence and the culprits should be brought to book," he told The Chronicle in an interview.

"It is really astonishing that the government is engaged in selective justice without finding the perpetrators of the day light murder but would be quick to arraign the NDC members in court. The NDC is not playing politics with the matter, the culprits should be apprehended for true justice to prevail," the former Minister of Justice and Attorney General fumed.

Speaking on several issues including his absence in party flag bearer, Prof. John Evans Mills' campaign team, Dr. Asamoah, described President Kufuor's assertion that he would not go to Yendi to campaign as unfortunate.

"I think what he was trying to do was to create the impression that he does not want to exploit the Yendi matter for political reasons or purposes."

The NDC chairman's comment came in the wake of Mr. Kufuor's pronouncement at the recent launch of the NPP national campaign at James Town in Accra that he would not campaign at Yendi and that the late Dagbon overlord was his friend and would ensure that he was first given a befitting burial.

"Dagbon is an important area in the country," President Kufuor had said, "but unfortunately, it has been struck with two serious calamities, the Kokomba/Dagomba war and the killing of Ya-Na. I have given the campaign for the people of Yendi to do."

The President called on the electorate to disregard politicians who used the Yendi case as their yardstick in campaigning in Yendi with the intention of scoring cheap political points. "Disregard those who use Dagbon as a political issue; people have been murdered in cold blood and instead of sympathizing with them, they have resorted to playing politics with it."

But Dr. Asamoah dismissed Mr. Kufuor's statement as "colouration" of the matter by the NPP and urged the electorate to discount it.

Touching on the state of finance of the NDC, he dismissed reports that the party was broke. "We are not broke as you people have reported. In politics, it must be clear that no candidate has all the necessary resources that he or she needs for an election. The needs far outweigh the resources. Yes, we have constraints in certain areas but that does not mean that we are financially broke. We raise funds from well-wishers. The strategy is to reach everybody," he said.

Dr Asamoah said obviously, the party did not have resources for posters of the presidential candidates to be made visible in all areas, "but we tell people to be careful about the rain and how the opposition might destroy it."

He said in 2000, Prof. Mills was not all that popular and that was the reason why the party had more posters but now, he was more popular and people were now familiar with the symbols of the party.

"There are difficulties but we are managing and we shall surely win the elections," he predicted.

He dismissed the suggestion that he was not in the campaign team of Prof. Mills because of various reasons, explaining that he had been sick and promised to join the team this weekend.

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